Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yuks kick off the week at the Knitting Factory

By Meredith Deliso

Have your laughs in Williamsburg each Sunday, when comedy comes to the Knitting Factory.

Starting November 15, Hannibal Buress hosts a weekly comedy show at the Williamsburg venue, inviting friends as well as doing his own routine each week.

Moving to New York from Chicago last year, Buress was hoping for more opportunity as a comedian in the Big Apple. He certainly found it. After performing on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” this past summer (see that clip below), he was snatched up by “Saturday Night Live” and hired as a writer.

Things kind of worked similarly, in a serendipitous way, here in Brooklyn. After performing at the grand opening of the Knitting Factory (he christened the stage as the first performer), they liked what he did and the Williamsburg resident was invited to put together a weekly show.

“We’re trying to diversify our programming, especially in the front bar,” says Chris White, the senior talent buyer for the venue. “We’re focusing mainly on the kinds of things that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to do on the big space.”

Buress was a natural fit for the venue, says White. “We thought he’d be a perfect match because he’s a neighborhood guy.”

And while Sunday is his only free night of the week, Buress is more than happy to be up on stage honing his craft.

“I stay down the street from the Knitting Factory, so it’s just kind of an ideal situation to have it here,” says Buress, who’ll be joined by fellow comics and friends Kumail Nanjiani and Baron Vaughn for the first show. “It’s great to just to be able to have my own place to try new materials and not have to take the train anywhere.”

Living in Brooklyn has crept into his stand-up routine, including his signature joke about seeing Hasidic Jews for the first time (not nearby in South Williamsburg, but in Borough Park). Goes the joke: “I saw two Hasidic Jews walk past each other without speaking. I thought that was weird. If I saw someone with the exact same outfit as me from head to toe, I’d at least stop and say. ‘That’s a nice hat.’”

Most of his days aren’t spent writing for himself, but for the comedians on “SNL” (more on that here). The past few weeks have been a tutorial, in possibility the biggest way possible for a comedian, in writing the sketch format.

“It’s fun to see work come to life,” says Buress. “To see something go from just being on the page to the sets being built and all the costumes, hair and makeup and then the show. Then we get to start it all over again on Monday.”

With his newest writing gig keeping him pretty busy, the Knitting Factory residency will be the best place to see this rising comedic talent for now.

“I’m just trying to do as much stand-up as I can and focus on the job,” says Buress, who in his free time likes to grab some grub at local spots Dante’s, Chimu and Jimmy’s Diner. “It will be nice to have a regular thing where people can come see me, and Knitting Factory is in a great location. I think it will be great.”

Comedy at Knitting Factory weekly residency, hosted by Hannibal Buress, starts November 15. At 9 p.m. Free. Knitting Factory is located at 361 Metropolitan Ave.

See Hannibal Buress on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon"

Photo by Mindy Tucker


Mike July 28, 2010 at 2:09 PM

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